Three dozen schools in Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties have been named California Distinguished Schools, for their track record and innovation in improving student academic achievement.

They are among 218 public middle and high schools that will be honored statewide for making progress in narrowing the academic achievement gap that separates higher-scoring white and Asian students from their African-American and Latino peers.

The schools were judged on a written application, including a description of a school's "signature practices," and a review by the school's county office of education.

The award this year honored secondary schools, which the program recognizes in alternate years with elementary schools. The schools will be honored at a statewide ceremony in May.

The winning schools, by county and school district, are:

Alameda County

Castro Valley Unified: Canyon Middle

Dublin Unified: Wells Middle

Fremont Unified: William Hopkins Junior High

Livermore Valley Joint Unified: East Avenue Middle

Oakland Unified: Oakland Charter High

Pleasanton Unified: Harvest Park Middle

San Mateo County

Burlingame Elementary: Burlingame Intermediate

Jefferson Elementary: Fernando Rivera Intermediate

Millbrae Elementary: Taylor Middle

San Carlos Elementary: Tierra Linda Middle

San Mateo-Foster City: Bowditch Middle

Sequoia Union High: Menlo-Atherton High

Santa Clara County

Cupertino Union: Joaquin Miller Middle, John F. Kennedy Middle, Sam H. Lawson Middle, Warren E. Hyde Middle

East Side Union High: KIPP San Jose Collegiate

Evergreen Elementary: Quimby Oak Middle

Fremont Union High: Lynbrook High, Monta Vista High

Gilroy Unified: Ascencion Solorsano Middle, Dr. T.J. Owens Gilroy Early College

Los Altos Elementary: Georgina P. Blach Junior High

Los Gatos Union Elementary: Raymond J. Fisher Middle

Los Gatos-Saratoga Joint Union: Los Gatos High, Saratoga High

Milpitas Unified: Milpitas High, Rancho Milpitas Middle

Mountain View Whisman: Isaac Newton Graham Middle

Mountain View-Los Altos Union: Los Altos High

Oak Grove Elementary: Bernal Intermediate

Saratoga Union Elementary: Redwood Middle

Union Elementary: Union Middle

Santa Cruz

Pajaro Valley Unified: Aptos High

Scotts Valley Unified: Scotts Valley High, Scotts Valley Middle

-- Sharon Noguchi, staff